The rumour is abuzz with claims that Roku could be working on a competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Oddly enough, it is Roku itself that is adding fuel to the fire, with the company having confirmed an acquisition of a multi-room audio company from Denmark, dubbed Dynastrom ApS.
Roku may be a major player in the set-top box market, but the company needs to diversify to continue its growth. The company’s stock has continued to grow as the rumour mill churns about the possible launch of a smart speaker – currently the hottest trend in the AV market.
The latest news comes straight from Variety, which obtained a statement from Roku confirming that the company recently acquired a multi-room audio startup for $3.5 million. In the statement, the company noted: “We are always looking to expand our engineering team, and the addition of Dynastrom allows us to scale the team further. They will continue operations in Denmark as a subsidiary of Roku Inc. We are not disclosing any additional details related to the transaction.”
While it’s true that acquiring talent is good for any company, as it stands Roku doesn’t really have any need for engineers whose talents are geared around speakers. That is unless the company is planning on launching something in the audio space, which is looking increasingly likely.
Dynastrom was said to be working on a Sonos-like multi-room technologies for use in speakers over Wi-Fi, which could be ideal for a Roku smart speaker. There will be strong competition in the marketplace, however. On top of the dominant players, Amazon and Google, other manufacturers have also announced smart speakers, or are reported to be working on one. That includes Apple, Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung, Sonos and Sony, amongst a whole lot more. It’s not known what Roku could bring to the table that isn’t available on all the other models.
Roku’s CEO remains bullish, however. While he wouldn’t confirm the existence of a Roku-built smart speaker, he noted at the company’s earnings call that the firm is ‘investing significantly into a massive opportunity’.